Year after year, your feet bear your weight, take a pounding as you run or walk, and squeeze into shoes that are too small, too high, and too tight. It’s no wonder they hurt.
While getting older and weighing too much can increase your chances for foot problems, poorly fitting shoes are often the culprit. With online shopping growing in popularity, many adults are purchasing shoes that look fashionable but don’t properly fit their foot shape and size. Women especially tend to buy shoes that are too small. The result? Painful foot deformities that may require surgery to correct.
Foot pain is often caused by these conditions:
Bunions—a bump where the big toe joins the foot
Hammer toes—toe joints that curl up instead of lying flat
Calluses and corns—thickened skin from friction or pressure
Morton’s neuroma—a pinched nerve that typically develops between the third and fourth toes
Try these practical remedies to help ease your pain:
Wear a shoe insert that offers arch support.
Don’t wear shoes that don’t fit. Your best bets are those with a square or round toe box (not pointed) and heels no higher than 2.25 inches.
Soak your feet to soften calluses, then use a pumice stone to get rid of dead skin.
Apply ice packs and take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling after an activity that increases foot pain.
Elevate a painful foot and reduce activity until pain goes away.
Not all foot pain can be prevented, but these steps may help:
Purchase comfortable shoes that fit well. Look for good arch support and cushioning. Don’t buy tight shoes expecting them to stretch.
Replace athletic shoes often, about once a year.
Increase physical activity gradually to avoid overuse injuries.
Keep your feet dry to prevent corns and calluses.
Maintain a healthy weight to lighten the load on your feet.
See a Doctor
If you’re concerned about your feet, talk with your health care provider. He or she can determine the extent of your injury or deformity and develop a plan to get pain-free and back on your feet as soon as possible. Or, if necessary, your provider may refer you to a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon to discuss further treatment options with you.